Our Students

About Our Students

College ESL admits students from diverse backgrounds and countries, each with unique aspirations.

The following descriptions give a general idea of typical students enrolled in College ESL.

  • Many students are permanent residents of the U.S. Most of our students have lived here for several years and are often living with their extended families.
  • They read well in their native language and can often already read well in English.
  • They are high school graduates. Many of our students have graduated from high schools in their country, and many others have attended and graduated from high schools in the U.S.
  • They are able to communicate in most everyday situations.
  • They are working in the service sector in retail stores, restaurants, banks, medical offices and more.
  • They are often enrolled in introductory general education (credit) courses along with their ESL reading and writing courses.
  • They are pursuing both academic and career goals.

Another segment of our student population is made up of international (F-1 visa) students. These students have been admitted into the associate degree program, and they take general education (credit) courses along with ESL. Many of these international students have attended universities in their countries.

In addition, immigrants residing in Virginia who have graduated from a Virginia high school may enroll at NOVA even if they are not able to document their legal presence. Those who are undocumented pay tuition at the out-of-state rate.